Mah records highest growth in tree cover

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Feb 2018 08:28:33


By Ramesh Marulkar,

As per the Indian State of Forest Report 2017 published at Delhi on Monday

The tree cover in Maharashtra has increased by 273 sq km outside forest areas during the last two years, which amounts to 3.19 per cent of the geographical area of the State, which is 3.07 lakh sq km. Maharashtra State stands first in whole of the country so far as tree cover is concerned, according to State of Forest Report.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, released the Indian State of Report Forest (ISFR) 2017 prepared by Survey of India at Delhi on Monday. The tree cover in Maharashtra was 9558 sq km as per the assessment published in 2015 but now the cover has gone up to 9831 sq km, a raise by 273 sq km, as per the report published today. The highlights of State of Forest Report - 2017 were only made available on Monday.

The analysis of the report indicates that the afforestation drive undertaken in Maharashtra has resulted into increase in tree cover of 3.19 per cent of the total geographical area stands first in the country so far as extent of the area is concerned. The tree cover comprises tree patches outside the recorded forest area, exclusive of forest cover and less than the minimum mappable area (1 ha) and upto 0.1 ha.

As for forest cover, Maharashtra recorded a decrease of 17 sq km. The State of Forest Report published in 2015 had mentioned forest cover to 50699 sq km but now it has gone down to 50682 sq km. The change can be attributed to rotational fellings, submergence, agricultural expansion and other developmental activities. Although, a decrease has been observed with forest cover, the overall decrease has been offset due to expansion of tree cover outside forest areas.

Moreover, rehabilitation efforts have led to appreciable increase in mangrove cover of the State over west coast. The mangrove forest area as per this report is 304 sq km against 222 sq km assessed in 2015. This means there is net increase of 82 sq km, predominantly found in Raigad, Mumbai suburb an and Thane district. The positive change is mainly due to plantation and regeneration of mangroves in the State. The Similarly, the bamboo bearing areas in Maharashtra have also increased remarkably to 15927 sq km as against the assessment of 11465 sq km made in 2011. There is a net increase of 4462 sq km showing good regeneration of bamboo in Maharashtra, which ranks second in the country. The increase in bamboo area is attributed to scientific management. So far as the dense bamboo area is concerned the State stands third in the country.

One of the highlights of the report there is a net increase of 432 sq km in the water bodies. The increase in water bodies within the forested areas of the country clearly brings out the positive effects of forest in augmenting water resources. The special water conservation schemes like Jalyukta Shivar resulted inw ater body areas to the tune of 432 sq km.